Working Groups

One of CDT’s core strengths is our working groups, which bring together companies, trade associations, public interest groups, technologists, academics, and other stakeholders to exchange views and seek solutions to the most pressing internet policy challenges. Our working groups are respectful and pragmatic, often finding common ground where others cannot.

CDT’s working groups discuss policy approaches and identify collaboration opportunities, but do not take positions or issue public documents.  Instead, any consensus is expressed in briefs, statements, best practice guides, or other documents that can be signed by individual members.  This leaves members free to participate in the dialogue, learn, and contribute ideas without publicly endorsing or being associated with a particular viewpoint.  Dialogue in the working groups informs CDT’s positions, but CDT does not speak for the working groups or their members.

Digital Privacy and Security Working Group (DPSWG)
In the post-Snowden era, government surveillance and privacy issues have never been more important. DPSWG focuses on privacy issues associated with government access to communications for law enforcement, intelligence, and cybersecurity. It has worked to coordinate responses to FBI proposals to control the design of communication services and products, and it has examined the need to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, leading to the spin-off of the Digital Due Process coalition (, and the introduction of landmark legislation. Currently, much of its efforts are on NSA surveillance reform, standards for trans-border governmental demands for user data, and cybersecurity legislative efforts.

Free Speech and Intermediaries Working Group (FSWG)
FSWG provides a forum for publishers, ISPs, social networking sites, internet platforms, and civil liberties groups to share information on pending litigation, legislative proposals, and other policy initiatives related to free expression, censorship, filtering, and the role of intermediaries. Through FSWG, CDT has been a key convener around online child safety and copyright enforcement issues. Most recently, FSWG has concentrated on the role of Internet intermediaries and the increasing demands they face from governments and private actors to monitor, filter, and otherwise control online content.

Health Privacy Working Group (HPWG)
HPWG works on critical issues such as how law and policy should address health information outside of HIPAA, how using customer data for corporate research can be privacy-protective, ethical, and beneficial to the social good, and the balance between open data and individual privacy rights. In addition, HPWG tackles emerging topics in health privacy, such as the deployment of biometric measuring and body monitoring technologies, as well as consent models and mechanisms, medical identity theft remedies for consumers, and the impact of employee wellness programs.

Internet Privacy Working Group (IPWG)
IPWG focuses on consumer privacy issues, including education and workplace privacy. It has convened companies and privacy advocates to address the FTC’s child online privacy rules, to discuss how to reconcile privacy values with free expression rights, and to formulate suggested revisions to proposed privacy regulation in Europe. Recently, IPWG brought stakeholders together to discuss proposed state legislation addressing how digital accounts can be accessed after death.  The working group is currently discussing data breach notification legislation, as well as looking at how to embed principles of fairness and non-discrimination into automated algorithmic decision-making and machine learning processes.